'Blockbuster Week' of Free Performances Gets Underway in Chicago's Millennium Park

Classic Arts News   'Blockbuster Week' of Free Performances Gets Underway in Chicago's Millennium Park
The Joffrey Ballet opens Chicago's "Blockbuster Week" this evening with its popular program "Cool Vibrations" — including Twyla Tharp's famous Beach Boys ballet Deuce Coupe — in Millennium Park on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Now in its third season, "Blockbuster Week" is a summer's-end series of free performances by the city's leading performing arts organizations — the Joffrey, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra — in the spectacular Jay Pritzker Pavilion designed by architect Frank Gehry.

Tomorrow evening, Steppenwolf's Traffic Series presents the program "I Sing America", in which Steppenwolf ensemble members join with the Chicago Children's Choir in "poetry and song celebrating American citizenship and the loving and fiery conversation our country has with its artists."

Lyric Opera of Chicago's annual "Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park" concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 8. Company music director Andrew Davis conducts the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus with soloists Isabel Bayrakdarian, Elizabeth De Shong, Elizabeth Futral, Bryan Griffin, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Marjorie Owens and Stacey Tappan. The program includes overtures, arias and ensembles by Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Massenet, Gounod and Delibes — not to mention Glinka's rousing overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila and Morris singing a medley from Man of La Mancha. For the first time, the "Stars of Lyric Opera" concert will be broadcast live on 98.7 FM WFMT in Chicago and online at www.wfmt.com.

The final performance of "Blockbuster Week" comes at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 9, as members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under conductor Edwin Outwater play the overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute and the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition. As a special treat, tap dancer extraordinaire Savion Glover joins the CSO for selections from Duke Ellington's The River.

In addition, the public may attend free open rehearsals for each of the performances:

  • Joffrey Ballet - Wednesday, September 5, afternoon
  • Steppenwolf Theatre Company - Thursday, September 6, afternoon
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago - Friday, September 7, afternoon
    (note that the rehearsal is the day before the performance)
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Sunday, September 9th, 12 noon to 2:30 p.m.

For more information about Millennium Park or "Blockbuster Week," visit www.millenniumpark.org.

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